2012 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team wins historic world title

By Jamie M. Blanchard | Dec. 21, 2012, 12 p.m. (ET)

Highlighted by the London 2012 Paralympic Games, called the greatest Games ever by International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, 2012 was a thrilling year for the Paralympic Movement in the United States and around the globe. Records were broken and legacies were made. From Dec. 20-31, USParalympics.org will unveil the Top 12 moments of 2012 for U.S. Paralympics in chronological order.

It was no April Fool’s joke. On April 1, the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team won the gold medal at the 2012 International Paralympic Committee Sledge Hockey World Championship in Hamar, Norway, becoming the first sled team to win back-to-back world titles.

After opening preliminary-round play with a shootout win against Estonia and a shootout loss against Czech Republic, Team USA rattled off three straight wins – against Japan, silver medalists at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Canada and Korea – en route to its second straight gold medal at the tournament.

In a 2-1 victory over Canada in the semifinals, goaltender Steve Cash made 15 saves, several of which came in the final minutes of action. In the championship, forward Taylor Lipsett tallied three goals and added an assist as Team USA defeated Korea, 5-1, to secure the gold medal. ‘

Forward Alexi Salamone, defenseman Taylor Chace and Cash were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.

With the world title, Team USA has won the last three major championships awarded in sled hockey: gold at the 2009 worlds, gold at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games and gold at the 2011 worlds. The team will play at the 2013 world championships and is eyeing the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

"It's unbelievable. Winning in Vancouver was one of the greatest things, and here in Norway we dominated as a team once again," Salamone said. "The feeling is incredible."